bouvier des flandres Q&A WITH LINDA CLARK, YVONNE SAVARD & DR. ROBERT D. SMITH
large—24 ½ " to 27 ½ " for dogs and 23 ½ " to 26 ½ " for bitches. We do not have a disqualification for height, so judges need to look at overall dog. Bouviers today run the full gamut of sizes. We have an “ideal” size in our standard—26" for dogs, 25" for bitches. If the dog or bitch appears way out of range, that’s your call. RS: First of all, I think judges are much more likely to find ones that are too small than too big. Ironically, ones that are too large are more likely to win than ones that are too small. That is probably because people are more likely to confuse “big” with “giant.” 8. With the standard calling for a scissor bite and a severe penalty for overshot or undershot, do you penalize a level bite? LC: Scissor bite please, with the rare exception being if the dog is outstanding enough to override the level bite. YS: I do not penalize a level bite. Bouviers have dropped center incisors as well; this is not an issue for me if the side bite has correct occlusion and full dentition. The standard does not mention full dentition; however, for me it goes with a strong, broad, well filled out muzzle. RS: I do not penalize a level bite. 9. Have you ever excused a Bouvier for a foreign substance or a dyed coat? LC: No, I have not. YS: No, I have not. That being said, it is a more common practice than one would think. When I judged the 2007 National, I was surprised at how black my hands were upon completion. I will make it known to the handler that I know and likely not place the dog. I check for color alteration, particular pigment coloration of noses and eye rims. If sprays are used, (the mouth wash smell that is a dead giveaway) that alerts me to really check the coat as obviously the handler thinks the coat needs masking. A good Bouvier coat only requires water. RS: I have not. Regarding suspected dyed exhibits, I do not think dying can be proven without taking hair samples and having them examined under a microscope. As for foreign substances, that too would be hard to prove, so my alternative is to just penalize the exhibit. 10. What part does grooming play in your placements? LC: At least one-third, symmetry is important in standing and in movement. YS: This is a hands-on breed, if you scissor the coat, then the texture is gone. The “prettiness” of the grooming does not influence me; correct preparation of the coat will. RS: According to my interpretation of the standard, the Bouvier should be shown with a minimum of grooming, so my policy is to fault excessive grooming.
LC: Exhibitors should show a well-socialized dog in good physical condition with correct grooming of the coat presenting a good outline and correct texture. I like exhibitors to show me the bite. YS: Slow them down; do not race with this breed. More handlers ruin good dogs by trying to get them to move like Sporting dogs. RS: Learn how to condition your dog’s coat and how to properly present the Bouvier as well as bring in a well- conditioned dog. 12. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? LC: I believe they misunderstand the head width and plane, the coat texture and the powerful balanced movement. YS: They judge on silhouette. This is a breed that can be sculptured to look correct by hiding length, masking head size and planes of muzzle to top skull. Use your hands, find the layback, the length of neck, the return of upper arm, the withers, where the front legs are set, the length of rib cage vs. length of loin and the rear angula- tion. Look for sickle hocks, at head carriage and at front reach and rear drive follow through—get past the coat. There should be minimal lift of front and rear legs; no excess kick or lift of that front or rear. RS: I think what most judges, both old and new, do not understand is the proper Bouvier coat.
13. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed?
LC: This is a breed that is very loyal to its owner and property. The Bouvier must have a job and purpose in life. They are intelligent, yet can be stubborn and strong willed. The owners of a Bouvier need to have the time for proper training and grooming. Being a very athletic and highly trainable breed, the Bouvier also needs socialization and training. I believe the Bouvier is an asset to the Herding Group. YS: Do not get caught up on the special of the day, there are good dogs out there that get over looked because they are not with a known name. Please judge the dog. Always remember: square, compact, agile, steady and proud. 14. And, for a bit of humor: what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? LC: Being interviewed by Borat (www.youtube.com/ watch?v=bT1BXN7bgjA) . YS: I was judging at the International Show in Sidney, Austra- lia and was in the Toy ring. Suddenly this loud commo- tion began. I went to find the source of the noise and it was a large nearby tree filled with cockatoos—I mean hundreds—that got into an argument about something. It was amazing to see and not one Toy dog spooked at the noise.
11. What can Bouvier exhibitors do to make your judging process easier?
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